If you are considering selling your home (or condo), things are looking up. But before you commit to listing with your cousin, an in-law or some other realtor, make sure that they have gone beyond getting a license. Of course if it’s your son or daughter you’re probably committed. Also, a spouse or ‘significant other’ is an absolute.
A real estate license does not qualify a person to give you the best representation. And in the real estate fraternity there are many license holders that haven’t got a clue. However, in all fairness to my fellow realtors, there are also many very professional agents that have the tools, knowledge, and ability to provide the best representation available.
All that being said, before listing your property for sale, interview two to four agents and ask the right questions to satisfy yourself that they will represent you and your needs. That is not to say that if the first does a fantastic, professional job and you’re comfortable with that agent, hire him (or her).
Here’s what you want from the agent: a market analysis for pricing, the ability to detail how to display your property best, a detailed professional presentation describing the agent’s and firm’s abilities to perform, and an explanation of the process from listing to closing. As for pricing, do not list with the only one that will tell you what you want to hear, and don’t ask your neighbors what they think. Now, I know that I’m about to offend some neighbors (we are all neighbors to someone), but most people who are not active in the real estate arena are not qualified to provide a market analysis. Sorry if I stepped on someone’s ego; if I did, get a grip.
Let’s talk about pricing and listen ‘good’ (I should have use ‘well’, but I wanted to make a point). Sellers are not deciding the market price: buyers are. Therefore, do not be upset when you’re told that your property is worth 20, 30 or 40 percent less than you expected. We are experiencing the most deflated market that I have witnessed in my 40 years as a realtor on Marco Island. If you get three price opinions and they are all over the board, it may be worth the investment ($300 to $400) to get an independent appraisal. Pricing is not an exact science. However, if you get a price opinion from an experienced and well qualified agent, it will probably be reasonably accurate.
To emphasize the issue, all purchasers who plan on a mortgage must have an appraisal (ordered by the lender) by a Florida licensed independent appraiser. Also, recently we have been involved with cash buyers who also want an appraisal before finalizing the purchase. Therefore, if the appraisal comes up short of the contract price, either you accept the appraisal price or the deal is dead.
Now that I have told you that your property may be 20 to 40 percent less than you think, here’s the good news. When you get ready to buy that next house or condo, that property will also be about 20 to 40 percent less that is was a few years back.
You’re now ready to sell and you’ve chosen an agent. Get ready for some real important issues. The property is no longer your home, it is now your house and get used to it. You need to have mentally moved and don’t get offended by others’ observations and comments (including that of your agent). You need to show your house in its best light even though it may not be to your lifestyle. Remember, this is no longer your home.
Let me paint you a picture: if you have a wall displaying all of your relatives, your dog, your cat and the horse you rode in on, pack it all away. You want a buyer to picture how he would treat the area and with your memories in full display, they will be distracted. And get rid of stuff wherever it is: kitchen counters, bathroom vanities, dresser tops, etc. By the way, don’t pack everything in boxes and put them in a closet or the garage. A buyer is looking for large closets those stuffed with boxes appear smaller than they are. The same goes for the garage. Either rent some space or store it in your neighbor’s garage. If I’m your neighbor, forget about it, my garage is full of stuff since my wife saves everything.
Now to the stats (compliments of the Marco MultiList): if you want to sell your house or condo, you will have competition. As of the end of January, there were about 500 houses and about 775 condos for sale on Marco Island. There are buyers and their numbers are increasing daily,but to sell you need to present a well-detailed and well-priced offering to generate a buyer’s interest.
All things considered, if you follow the recommendations of a well qualified agent or a real estate consultant, your house (or condo) will sell in a reasonable time.
Marv Needles is the broker/owner of ERA Flagship Real Estate which he founded in 1973. He has been a full time resident of Marco Island for over 40 years.